CYCLING: Witham Wheelers stage annual road races

Peter Cocker in the thick of the action in Witham Wheelers' G. A. Bennett Memorial race on Bank Holiday Monday.
Peter Cocker in the thick of the action in Witham Wheelers' G. A. Bennett Memorial race on Bank Holiday Monday.
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Witham Wheelers held their two annual road races last Monday.

Sponsored by Pedalpushers lightweight cycle shop, the events were held on the club’s circuit around Wyville, Saltby, Sproxton and Skillington, with the G. T. Ellingworth race for 3/4 categories in the morning and the longer G. A. Bennett Memorial in the afternoon.

A large field of 70 riders contested the four-lap morning race in warm, dry conditions. It was won by Robin McKinnon (Harworth & District), with the best local rider being Harry Browning (Clay Cross RT) in 17th. Wheelers Paul Conneely, Chris Carter and Martin Ludlam finished 23rd, 36th and 49th respectively.

Peter Cocker (Team Forme) was the only Grantham rider to contest the afternoon’s 120km event for E/1/2/3 categories, with a strong breeze now sweeping across the six-lap course.

Peter lost contact with the main bunch on lap four after some mechanical issues, but regained contact before being dropped on the final lap as the pace picked up. The race won won by Team Raleigh’s Graham Briggs.

l Juvenile Karl Baillie represented Witham Wheelers in the North West International Youth Tour and finished an impressive sixth overall.

Competing against 80 of the best British riders, this latest round of the National Youth Series saw Karl finish second in the prologue opening time trial by less than half a second, with himself and the stage winner both dipping under Mark Cavendish’s 11-year-old course record. Fifth place in the first day’s 25-mile second stage saw Karl relegated to third overall on GC.

He finished eighth and 10th in the second day’s two 15-mile road stages to hold on to fourth overall. Karl lost two more places on GC after the final day’s 35-mile race along Blackpool promenade but ended the Tour just 21 seconds down on the overall winner after time bonuses were taken into consideration.